1. Discontinuing therapy after 48 hours just because fever has subsided and the child is feeling better.
“This allows bacteria [in your child’s body] to build up resistance to antibiotics,” warns Dr. Perreras. “When your child gets sick again, that antibiotic may no longer work.”
Think of this as making the bacteria undergo rigid training in which they don’t die but instead come out stronger and tougher.
2. Making the child take leftover antibiotics from the “last time” because child presents with similar symptoms.
Do not be tempted to give your child left-over antibiotics from “last time” even in an effort to save money. “It may be the wrong dose—since your child may have gained or lost weight since their last sick bout—or wrong drug altogether,” she warns.
3. Not understanding and following the prescription.
“Follow prescriptions to the letter!” Dr. Perreras admonishes. Make sure you understand the details of the prescription before leaving the doctor’s office. You can ask questions and clarify details with your pediatrician. If you must leave your child with a caregiver explain this prescription to him or her very carefully. Make sure he or she will be able to administer the medications correctly. For example, “oral meds are meant to be taken by mouth and topical meds are meant to be applied on the skin. Route is so important for a medication to work,” she explains.
4. Treating their children themselves and second guessing their pedia.
“If you do not believe in your pedia, find someone you do trust,” Dr. Perreras advises. And don’t give antibiotics to your children without the advice of a pediatrician. Some viral illnesses do not need antibiotics. Taking antibiotics for viral infections can sometimes do more harm than good.
According to the CDC “using antibiotics for viral infections, such as colds, flu, or most sore throats will not cure the infection, will not keep other people from getting sick, will not help you or your child get better, may cause harmful side effects, and may ultimately contribute to antibiotic resistance.”
The CDC also advises patients and parents against demanding that physicians prescribe antibiotics even when they’re told it’s not necessary, letting the child take antibiotics prescribed for someone else, allowing the child to share someone else’s antibiotics, and letting the child skip doses.
While antibiotics have been deemed by many as the 20th century’s “wonder drug,” which have thankfully saved millions of lives throughout the years since its discovery, its misuse, overuse, and abuse have given rise to the proliferation of superbugs that have been killing thousands of people globally in recent years. We have to make sure that we are aware of this crisis and we are not contributing to it. Let’s start by changing our own attitudes toward the use of antibiotics and how we take care of our sick children.
*This is an excerpt from my article that came out on Manila Bulletin